Free, guided land-based whale watches at 5 sites in support of Biodiversity Week


Explore the rich variety of life in Ireland this May with a host of wonderful events and activities for the whole family.

“This year join in with our 10th annual Biodiversity Photographer of the Year competition, a weekend Biolitz and Scavenger Hunt, and events every day on all things wildlife in Ireland! Events will be both in person and virtual, so everyone can take part.”


5 whale watch sites, Sat. 21st May

To celebrate Biodiversity Week and to promote the biological recording of cetaceans and basking sharks in Irish waters, the IWDG is running a series of land- based, guided whale watches on Saturday 21st May between 10:00am – 12:00 (see map for general locations).  These events are free and will be led by experienced IWDG personnel and local members who will be on hand to introduce you to the fieldskills involved in locating, identifying and recording the more frequently seen whale and dolphin species in Irish waters. No pre-bookings necessary; so you can just turn up on the morning with your optics, sense of adventure and humour!

You should arrive at your local meeting point in good time (09:50am), to ensure you don’t miss the welcome, introduction and safety briefing.  As whale watching requires reasonable weather, watch leaders reserve the right to cancel a local watch in the event of strong winds and/or rain, so our advice as always is to keep a close eye on the local weather forecast from say Thurs. 19th onwards and if any doubt, to contact your local watch leader the day before your event, to avoid a wasted journey. That said, the weather at this time of year is generally reliable!

You should dress appropriately for conditions on the day.  We suggest warm and waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear if the forecast is marginal. If the weather is settled, then of course you should apply sunblock and wear a sun hat.  We suggest some fluids to stay rehydrated. Of course whatever refreshments you decide is optional, but it is only a 2 hr event.  Please remember to take away your rubbish, as these sites are both scenic and rich in biodiversity.  Best to leave family pets at home.

Optics are important for land-based whale watching and at a minimum you should bring a pair of binoculars, with which you re familiar, and better again if you have a wildlife spotting scope.  A camera with zoom lens is an optional extra, in case animals venture close to the shore.  Watch leaders will have some educational material to hand out and some will have whale artefacts of interest to show participants on the day.  There will be some IWDG resources and field guides for sale for anyone who’d like to support our charities work and learn more about our recording schemes

Full event listing below and we’d ask you to contact your local watch leader directly, should you have any specific questions regarding your local event.

  • Loop Head, Co. Clare, meeting at Lighthouse, leader Mags Daly, Ph. 083 8401102, email:


  • Dun na mBó, Mullett Peninsula, Co. Mayo, leader Sean Pierce, Ph. 086 8368736, email:


  • Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, meeting at West Lighthouse, leader Pádraig Whooley, Ph. 086 3850568, email: 
  • Howth Head, Co. Dublin, meeting @ Balscadden Car Pk, little shop (Howth Hub), leader Dave O’ Connor, Ph. 087 6665049, email:


  • Cloghna Head, West Cork, meeting @ Galley head view car park, leader Denis O’ Regan, Ph. 083 3369775,   email:


We look forward to meeting you on the morning of Saturday 21st May …weather permitting!

General or media enquiries to IWDG Sightings officer, email: or Ph. 086 3850568

Whale Watchers at Cloghna Hd (Galley Head Viewing Pt.) Co. Cork, one of next Saturday’s five selected sites.